To the Editor:
Regarding the Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 article titled “Grant Career Center adding two animal science programs,” I am perplexed with the Superintendent’s claim that there are “…600 careers in equine science…” Inquisitive as I am, with a vested interest in the school, even though I am retired, a quick Google search led me to answers that maybe the Superintendent avoided, ignored, or just conveniently forgot to inform to the school board about. No school board, presented with the facts about today’s equine industry, would support the spending of hundreds of thousands of tax payer’s dollars to begin a program at a public vocational school for a career path that is recreational at best and in an industry that is in decline, with very little hope of improvement in the future.
Readers, and the School Board of Grant Career Center, please Google and peruse the paper by John Holland, the President of the Equine Welfare Alliance titled “An Analysis of the Factors Responsible for the Decline of the Horse Industry.” Said paper defines for which I will write about.
Since the recession, which began in 2007, pet and animal ownership in the United States has dropped, but the statistic cogent to Grant Career Center is that there are 33 percent fewer horses than before the recession, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. The decline of the horse racing industry in the United States is specifically linked to the public’s easy access to other forms of gambling, and to a lack of appeal to this generation of citizens. The real scourge of the equine industry today is the glut of unwanted animals which have been left on their own due to the economic conditions of their owners. The last horse slaughter house was closed in 2007 so there is not even a way to turn unwanted animals into food.
Even if the equine industry was in full bloom, as it was in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, the jobs they provided were mostly seasonal and hardly careers to build a life on, which is the exact opposite of the career education tracks that have previously been offered to the students of southern Clermont County. Welding, carpentry, nursing, engineering, cosmetology, auto body, auto tech, teaching, medical information, those are areas that are not just hobbies, they are careers that will always be in demand. Students know they will have a skill that is salable, and in a career path in which they can advance, and mostly importantly, make a life and raise a family.
A vet, a vet tech, a trainer, yes, a person can make a career out of that. But most jobs will be relegated to mucking out stalls and living in the barn with the horses, being a self-employed farrier, or a job comparable to a rodeo or circus laborer; all fun for a while, but not worthy to allow one to live the American dream. Also not worthy of what Grant Career Center has offered since 1976.
And in light of the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting, and another school shooting incident in Centennial, Colorado recently, perhaps a relatively small portion of this money could go towards replacing the Grant Career Center School Resource Officer that protected the staff and students for the last 14 years. With other schools taking aggressive action to ward off school violence, this Superintendent invests in a dead-end career path for future students.
Kenneth D. Kappel